One intriguing possibility is that some of the remaining crew from the Franklin expedition may have come back to re-enter the ship and desperately tried to sail south before running into more ice, according to the Guardian. Previously, it was thought the doomed crew had only marched south on foot in an effort to find refuge.
Sir John Franklin was an experienced explorer, including participating in three previous Arctic expeditions. The crew's disappearance baffled many. Several ships were later dispatched to search for the missing men. Some graves were found years later but not the location of the ships.
In the 1980s, further research was conducted on well-preserved graves and bodies of some of the found crew from the Franklin expedition. It was concluded that at least some of the men likely died predictably of hypothermia, starvation, lead poisoning, and diseases such as scurvy. Cut marks on some bones also suggested signs that cannibalism occurred.
For modern researchers, the search has centered around the last written coordinates found when the Franklin expedition first abandoned their ships. It came from a note discovered in stone dated April 25, 1848. The paper mentioned that Erebus and Terror had been abandoned three days earlier after getting stuck in thick ice.
The note was signed by Crozier and Fitzjames. The men were in command of the remaining expedition crew of 105 after Franklin's death. Franklin himself had died on June 11, 1847. They also wrote that they were going to walk down Back's Fish River. Their goal was to walk along the river until they found a Hudson's Bay fur trading outpost.
The discovery of the second Franklin expedition ship was based partly on luck and timing. An Inuit member of the search crew mentioned that he had seen a mast sticking out of the ice years ago. The team made a detour and soon found the missing ship, Terror. The Erebus was also eventually found based on Inuit legends of the Franklin expedition and sightings of a sunken large wooden ship. The Erebus was the flagship of the expedition under Franklin's command.